Anyone interested in the best interests of the Patients, their Caregivers and those involved in the industry as a whole should OPPOSE this dog with many flees. The proposed amendments to NRS 453A, the Nevada Medical Marijuana Statute, would lead to greater confusion and less access to medicine for patients. The author of this flea bitten dog has chosen to remove important aspects of the existing law and to replace them with confusing and poorly thought out contradictions. The end result of which can only be a more difficult environment for patients, providers and caregivers.
Channel 8 news recently covered the announcement of the BDR (Bill Draft Request), which can be found here, http://tiny.cc/42p3s, as well as the proposed bill for your review. The statute as it stands currently is located here, http://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/NRS-453A.html
I’m going to discuss the changes as proposed, so that my comments can be understood and followed by reading the pdf of the bill as drafted and in its original form.
1. NRS 453A.080 “Designated primary caregiver” defined
- subsection ‘c’ as added attempts to modify the law to allow a primary caregiver to be a caregiver to more than one person.
This attempt, while nice in thought, doesn’t provide for the true needs of the patients of the MMJ Program. That is making, allowing, or providing for, commercial caregivers such as hospitals or hospices. These commercial caregivers are designed to provide for their patients in a controlled and monitored environment. Presently, a caregiver is only allowed to act on behalf of one patient, and may not be a commercial entity. This limitation restricts access to marijuana and its positive effects from those that find themselves committed to institutions in which they are cared for on a full-time basis.
- This subsection should be amended to include Hospitals, Hospices, Long Term Care Facilities (nursing homes) and other similar places to act on behalf of the patients as a caregiver under the act.
- Additionally, there should be no reason, except for the fact that a person needs a primary caregiver, to deny the holder of an MMJ Card to act on behalf of another as a Primary Care Giver.
2. NRS 453A.135, “Qualified patient” defined. “Qualified patient” means a person who is entitled to the protections of NRS453A, but does not have a registry identification card.
- Lets be real, this is detrimental to the industry, the patients and the movement. This provides no reasonable expectation that the patients have seen or discussed the use and need for MMJ with a physician.
A patient is currently qualified under the law and would reasonably believe that they are entitled to the protections of the law by complying with the application process. The addition of the above noted section will only lead to confusion on the part of providers and law enforcement.
3. NRS 453A.200 Holder of valid registry identification card exempt from state prosecution for certain acts involving marijuana and drug paraphernalia; mere presence of person in vicinity of medical use of marijuana; limitation on exemption from state prosecution; affirmative defense.
- Paragraph 4(b) as proposed adds the following, “If the registry card holder or designated caregiver possess a doctor’s recommendation that the quantity does not meet the patients needs, the patient or caregiver may possess an amount of marijuana consistent with the patients needs established by the attending physician.”,
- It also strikes the current (b) which establishes an affirmative defense in accordance with NRS 453A.310
Question, does the patient use it in cooking because of their inability to keep regular food down? Do they smoke it to alleviate pain, headache or other similar problems. How often?
The problem here is simple, Doctors, unless they are knowledgeable with the way in which a patient uses the medicine, are they able to determine how much is necessary. A patient that cooks with it will use a larger quantity than one that smokes or vaporizes it. On the other hand, how does a Doctor determine what is an amount consistent with the patients needs. Last I checked there were only a few labs being established that tested for potency of strains and THC content. Stay out of the Dr-Patient Relationship, it’s better for them and better for the rest of us.
The end result of this change is to strike and remove any affirmative defense to the quantity limits currently imposed. Another fine move without thinking it through.
4. NRS453A.255 Collective and cooperative existence:(This is proposed for inclusion)
- Its a well written mishap, that sections 1 and 3 contradict each other. In section 1, patients and caregivers are allowed to join together to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes; In section 3, “Nothing in this statute shall authorize the individual or group to cultivate or distribute marijuana”.
- Furthermore, section 4 of the proposed amendment explicitly gives local governing bodies the authority to ignore this all together. The statement “… may adopt and enforce laws consistent with this statute.”, does not require the local authorities to do so, and does not require them to do so in a defined period of time and when all else fails, allows them to further restrict the statute as written.
Congratulations, you’ve successfully given and taken away a right that already exists. Nothing in the existing statute prohibits like-minded individuals from forming cooperatives for the purpose of growing marijuana for medical purposes. Nothing states expenses can not be covered in doing so and nothing states that the cooperative can not provide for the access to the medicine.
5. NRS453A.300, PROHIBITED ACTS; AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES
- The only thing correct about this bill is that is strikes, section 1 (f) Delivering marijuana for consideration to any person, regardless of whether the recipient lawfully holds a registry identification card issued by the Division or its designee pursuant to NRS 453A.220 or 453A.250.
- The other changes are minor and make no valuable addition to the law as it stands or how it will be enforced.
This is the only positive in the entire bill, most likely not that it addresses paying for MMJ, but that it would be found unconstitutional if challenged in court because it is nearly impossible to determine what is prohibited conduct. Consideration can be just about any type of human interaction. So, this not so well thought out statement, shouldn’t even be there in the first place.
6. Changes as to the Administrative Code,NAC 453A. 150
- I made notes above in regard to this before, the only agreeable change is to remove the multi-patient restriction of paragraph 2 and leave paragraph 1 intact. The logic that I can see behind this is, if a person is so debilitated to need a caregiver, then they are in no way capable of caring for another.
Well that’s it. My comments on a debilitating and poorly thought out excuse for an amendment to an already confusing statute that does nothing to help those that it claims to provide for. DON’T VOTE FOR ITS PASSAGE if you have anything to do with patients rights, you won’t be doing anyone any good.
This topics got my attention, does it have yours?
I’ve got more to come, stay tuned.